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How to stay safe at the gym after lockdown

Trainers, phone, fitness tracker, sports bra and water bottle on wooden floor
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Updated 12th April 2021 - We recommend the coronavirus page on the Government website for more up to date information.

Gyms in the UK have reopened once again from the 12th April 2021. Perhaps you’ve missed your daily gym sessions or maybe you’re thinking of starting a new routine; how ever often you visit the gym we have some tips to stay safe and make the most out of your workout.

Social distancing

Exercising is beneficial for our physical and mental health but while exercising at the gym it is important to still follow government guidelines and maintain social distancing. Your gym should have spaced out the equipment to allow for social distancing and a space between you and other users, this could be done by removing some equipment or marking it as Out Of Use. Be mindful of other people around you, ensuring to wait for a space if certain areas, like free weights or mats, seem crowded.

Sanitising equipment

Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser before entering the gym.  Sanitise each piece of equipment before and after you use it, particularly paying attention to handles, buttons and touch screens. Try to avoid touching your face as much as possible, to remove temptation try tying up your hair before you get to the gym or pinning it back from your face. Bring your own water bottles or towels where necessary too.

Nasal sprays

VIRALEZE™ antiviral nasal spray inactivates the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9%. Providing a moisturising protective barrier, VIRALEZE™ can be used up to 4 times per day wherever you go alongside face masks and social distancing. This isn't a substitute for COVID-19 infection control measures, so please always follow Government guidelines for COVID-19.

Face coverings

The current government guidance states that you don’t need to wear a face mask when exercising, but most gyms will require you to wear one when walking around the building or entering or exiting.

Shop face masks

Use track and trace

Download the NHS track and trace app on to your phone and get into the habit of scanning and checking in before each gym session. Remember to stay at home and isolate if you start to display any of the coronavirus symptoms and get tested.

If you're displaying symptoms, you can get a free NHS test or you can request a Coronavirus (COVID-19) swab test kit from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.

COVID-19 swab test banner 

Try outdoor classes

From the 29th March 2021 outdoor sports have been permitted. Some gyms and leisure centres have been taking their activities outdoors. From yoga, to boot camp, golf, tennis and more, it could be an good opportunity to do favourite activities or even try something completely new.

Go steady

Whether you’ve been out of the gym for many months or you’re new to the gym it’s worth easing your way into it. Start by increasing your daily activity gradually and be patient with yourself, it is unlikely that you’ll be able to work out straight away at the level you did before. Add in weight, intensity or speed gradually to begin with.

Remember to stretch! Stretching before and after your workout will help to keep your muscles flexible, strong and healthy and also helps us to maintain our range of motion in our joints.

Remember rest days

Although you may be eager to spend as much time as possible back in the gym, it is important to schedule in a rest day. For most people this is 24 hours between work outs and this time allows the body’s muscles to recover from any damage they may have sustained and allows them to grow.

If you’re starting a new exercise or pushing yourself harder than usual you may find your muscles become sore 1-2 days after exercising. This is called DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and is totally normal. It can happen to anyone, even elite athletes and will decrease as your muscles get used to the new physical demands put upon them. DOMS can be treated by rest, ice packs, painkillers and massage.

References

www.ukactive.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Covid-19-A-framework-for-the-re-opening-of-the-gym-and-fitness-industry-V2.3-2.pdf
www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own
www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works
www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching
www.theconversation.com/rest-days-are-important-for-fitness-heres-why-according-to-science-143875
www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/pain-after-exercise